How many have noticed in their own community or region of lately that there has been a housing shortage yet successful governments haven’t addressed the increasing population which need a truly affordable and rentable housing. There are many who feels they(parliamentarians) Walk the walk talk the talk?
Over the weekend there has been some announcements how the political establishments who will provide or address the housing issue which to me has become more of the same in a nutshell more spin doctoring to see who can outdo each other for which I blame both previous and present governments for not doing enough to build housing at affordable prices. I still say that both present and previous governments give a good talk but they never seem to do the walk when it comes to addressing the housing crisis.
David Cameron wants there to be no more permanent homes for council or
housing association tenants. He also wants to cut housing benefit for the
unemployed, and for those who may have a spare room in their property.
Cameron is attacking the security that we have argued for and won over many years.
There could be tenancies that last only five or ten years, if earnings have increased a little, or if a child has left home. What a future.
The lack of affordable housing supply is the real problem and it is not our fault. Let’s stop all these attacks on our housing rights.
This what I have come across so far:
Labour Housing policy can be downloaded
The Green Party housing policy:
- Resume direct investment in council and other social housing and allow local authorities to use receipts from sales to fund new affordable accommodation. In particular, while the building trade remains depressed because of the recession we would provide £2bn in 2010 rising to £4bn in 2011 to local authorities to expand social housing, mainly through conversion and renovation, and create 80,000 jobs.
- There are about one million empty homes. Halve this number through empty property use orders.
- Provide more rights for homeless people, giving local authorities the same duties with regard to single people and childless couples as to families, and ending the practice of declaring people ‘intentionally homeless’.
- Take steps to ensure that development is more evenly distributed across the whole of the country, so reducing pressure on housing in the South East in particular.
- Minimise encroachment onto undeveloped ‘greenfield sites’ wherever possible by reusing previously developed sites that have fallen into disuse.
- End the right to buy and introduce the right to rent. People facing severe difficulties with paying their mortgage and facing repossession should have a right to rent their existing home as council housing, analogous but opposite to the Tory ‘right to buy’. We would make up to £2bn per annum available to local authorities to support ‘right to rent.’
- Introduce a free home insulation programme for all homes that need it, with priority for pensioners and those living in fuel poverty, aiming to insulate 4 million homes every year. Such a programme would cost £2bn in 2010 rising to £4bn a year and create 80,000 jobs.
- Introduce incentives totalling £2bn per annum to encourage homes to become more energy self-sufficient by aiming for 1,000,000 solar roofs, and support generous feed-in tariffs for micro-generation, creating 40,000 jobs in the installation industries.
- Abolish standing charges on fuel bills and set tariffs to favour smaller consumers.
- Set building regulations to require excellent energy standards on a points-based system, which will cover embodied energy of building materials, energy used in construction, energy consumption in use, on-site energy generation and use of heat distribution networks.
- Increase the tax-free amount on the ‘Rent a Room’ scheme from £4,250 to £9,000 a year. This would reduce repossessions, provide more affordable housing and make better use of the existing housing stock.
- Support self-build social co-operatives.
- Accept that climate change will mean that some housing cannot be protected from flooding in a sustainable way, and assist financially those whose homes become uninhabitable. Also invest £1bn in sustainable flood defences and sustainable drainage systems, creating 20,000 jobs, and ensure that insurance is available for flooding.
- Oppose new arm’s length management organisations and ensure genuine tenant participation in existing ones.
- Ensure that new housing proposals are based on independent housing needs surveys. Commercial house builders and their representatives should not be involved in the process.
The Libdems housing policy:
The Liberal Democrat policy paper on housing notes that the primary driver of growing housing benefit and Local Housing Allowance bills has been the shortage of housing, leading to higher rents, and increasing number of people unable either to buy or to access social housing. The paper focused on the most pressing issues:
- Building more homes– providing environmentally sustainable homes where people need them, creating jobs and kick starting the economy.
- Giving tenants more power and security – making social landlords more accountable and improving standards and security in the rapidly growing private rented sector.
- More local control – giving local councils, communities and individuals more power and autonomy to create thriving neighbourhoods in the face of the hugely diverse range of challenges that they face.
Home ownership is becoming more and more out of reach for many. Since the withdrawal of Mortgage Interest Relief for residential homeowners, we have seen a dramatic escalation in house prices and a surge in buy-to-let investors in the housing market. Home ownership is falling and the private rental market is growing – spurred on by rent subsidies and the private rental of former council properties acquired under right to buy schemes.
Welfare costs for housing support are all the while increasing dramatically, despite welfare caps and under-occupancy restrictions. Government cannot simply legislate for higher wages that may increase unemployment, lower rents that may reduce housing supply or abandon millions of people to the vagaries of the market. So what can be done in addition to the proposals in the Liberal Democrat paper?
Firstly, we can focus on increasing wages as a share of GDP by specifically targeting non-inflationary full employment as government policy and driving investment in productivity enhancing infrastructure.
Secondly, involuntary unemployment can be reduced with the introduction of a voluntary job guarantee scheme targeted at those currently in need of housing support. Such a scheme would allow for the introduction of a condition of habitual employment as a pre-requisite to eligibility for housing support for the able-bodied.
Thirdly, state housing support can be refocused away from rental subsidies and towards capital development, primarily at shared ownership schemes for citizens and long term residents i.e. rent to buy. Combined rental/mortgage payments would be based on a fixed % of annual earnings/income. Equity built-up in the property would be transferable to family members or other eligible participants in the scheme.
Fourthly, discounts under the current right to buy scheme can be ended and both new and existing council properties retained in the shared ownership scheme portfolio.
Lastly, council tax could be replaced with a national Land Value Tax payable by landlords and owner occupiers on land values over and above a primary residence homestead credit equivalent to the average Band A of council tax. This would aid in both stabilising house and land prices generally and redistributing the burden of council tax more progressively, such that those on very low incomes were better able to afford rents/mortgage payments.
The Conservative plans for Housing:
The seeds of the next housing bubble have already been planted by Labour’s persistently low rates of housebuilding, so unless we make serious changes now, a wasteful and painful boom and bust cycle could happen again. Our first challenge, therefore, is to deliver enough of the homes people want, in the places people want them, in order to meet Britain’s unmet housing need. The first thrust of our reform will be to abandon the
Government’s failed top-down, target-led model of imposing development on communities, which has comprehensively failed to meet this goal. Instead, we will move to a more sustainable system that uses radical new freedoms and powerful incentives to enable communities to deliver the new housing they want and need.
- Abolish the unsuccessful regional planning system and the counterproductive regional housing targets;
- Incentivise new house-building by matching local authorities’ council tax take for each new house built for six years with special incentives for affordable housing;
The Conservative leader said a future government led by him would build 100,000 new homes for such people.
They would be built on brownfield land already identified for development and exempt from some taxes, he said.
He was speaking as the party prepares for its annual conference this weekend.
Conservative politicians and activists will gather in Birmingham from Sunday for what is the final conference before next May’s general election.
Unveiling the pledge – an extension of the Help to Buy mortgage scheme – Mr Cameron said the Conservatives wanted more young people to “achieve the dream” of owning their own home.
“I want young people who work hard, who do the right thing, to be able to buy a home of their own. So these starter homes will be sold at 20% less than the market value.
“They can’t be bought by foreigners, they can’t be bought by buy-to-let landlords, they can’t be flipped round in a quick sale. They can only be bought by hard working people under the age of 40.”
The starter homes plan would apply only to England, whereas Help to Buy is UK-wide.
That scheme entails the government offering a 20% equity loan to buyers of new-build properties.
Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds said Mr Cameron had presided over the lowest level of house building in peacetime since the 1920s.
“After four and a half years he now tells us that he is going to deliver for first-time buyers but under his government a record one in four young people are living at home with their parents and young people across the country are priced out of home ownership.
“Labour will make the fundamental changes to the market which are urgently needed and will double the number of first-time buyers in the next 10 years.”
Campbell Robb, of homelessness charity Shelter, welcomed the pledge but said it was “absolutely vital” that the homes built were “genuinely affordable for young couples and families on ordinary incomes”.
“There’s a real concern that removing the requirement on developers to build affordable housing means this policy may not help those facing the greatest struggle to get a home of their own,” he said.
Grainia Long, of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said she welcomed “the focus on supply and affordability” but still had “some serious concerns”.
She said: “This smacks of building for one group of people at the expense of another.
“Social housing is critical if we are going to solve the housing crisis – there are always going to be people who can’t afford to buy and we must provide decent, affordable homes for them too.
“Equally, we’d like to see more investment in shared ownership to help people on lower incomes. If all the focus is on home ownership, we are never going to build mixed communities.”
‘Raft of taxes’
Under the new proposals, the homes would be built on brownfield land which was no longer needed for industrial or commercial use.
Savings from using such land would be passed on to the buyers, the Conservatives said.
Public sector land would also be used to deliver the pledge.
The homes would be exempt “from a raft of taxes”, Mr Cameron said, such as the community infrastructure levy and a requirement to build social housing as part of any development.
Some building regulations – including the zero carbon homes standard – would also not apply to the new units.
The zero carbon homes standard, which applies from 2016, aims to improve energy efficiency.
It requires house builders to decrease all carbon emissions from energy arising from fixed heating and lighting, hot water and other fixed building services – such as ventilation – in new homes.
UKIP Housing Policy:
I had to laugh when I listen to UKIP talked about their housing policy’s the conference only for Nigel Farage to backtrack on it on it on Sunday the Marr Show.
I cannot discover how UKIP feels about letting agent fees or licensing, but after unearthing various manifestos, the subject of immigration certainly makes it mark.
The party wants immigration to be controlled so that “large areas of British countryside will not need to be destroyed by house building”.
It also proposes that council house applicants whose parents or grandparents were born locally should be given priority.
Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEP for the north-west and UKIP deputy leader, has been particularly vocal on the subject, saying that Britain’s “chronic under-supply of homes” is a “crisis fuelled by the unprecedented immigration into our country of the last decade. Nearly nine out of ten new homes required in the UK result from inward immigration.
“Unless we withdraw from the European Union, the immigration spiral will continue and the demand for housing will be compounded.”
Environment, Planning and Housing: Reduce the pressure on housing by ending open-door immigration. Oppose the bedroom tax, but provide incentives to re-use empty homes. Protect our green spaces by directing new housing and business developments to brown-field sites. Stop preferential treatment to special groups such as travellers – rules should apply equally to us all.
Yet Emma Reynard’s summons it up in a nutshell:
This chronic shortage of housing is having an impact across the country. Young people and families are struggling to get on the property ladder. Those renting privately are now having to pay record sums, on average 41% of their income just to keep a roof over their heads. It’s also affecting those who want to upsize to a bigger home but are finding they can’t bridge the gap between what they own and where they want to move to. And for those who have just joined a waiting list for a social home, there are 1.7 million families already in the queue.
That’s why, last year, Ed Miliband set a target for the next Labour government to build over 200,000 homes a year by 2020.
It’s a big ambition. But, Labour is determined to make home ownership a realistic aspiration for the next generation. We know that there is no single solution to tackling the housing shortage. That is why alongside our ambition, Ed Miliband tasked our housing commission, chaired by Sir Michael Lyons, to draw up a roadmap for achieving this step-change in house building.
Labour is determined to tackle the root causes of this crisis. We need to release more land for development. We will ensure that local authorities that want to expand but do not have the land can do so through a right to grow. Alongside this, Labour is determined to reform the land market. We will bring an end to land-banking by giving local authorities the power to levy fines and use proper compulsory purchase powers on those who sit on land with planning permission, so that they have to ‘use it or lose it.’
We also want to support more firms to enter into the market and encourage small-scale and self-build so we can make the most of all opportunities to create a thriving housebuilding industry. That is why, earlier this year, alongside Chris Leslie, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary, I announced the details of Labour’s Help to Build policy specifically designed to help SME builders. In the Federation of Master Builders’ 2013 House Builder Survey, 60 per cent of members cited access to finance as a major barrier to their ability to increase their output of new homes, more than any other factor. So the next Labour Government will provide government guarantees for banks lending to SME construction firms in a similar way to how the current ‘Help to Buy’ scheme underwrites mortgages.
By itself, the private sector has never produced the number of homes we need. Therefore, we are also exploring how we can get councils, together with housing associations, back into the business of building again. Labour councils are already blazing a trail. When it comes to getting affordable homes built they are outbuilding their Tory counterparts by 2 to 1.
Given the severity of the shortage, we will need some big scale solutions. New Towns and Garden Cities played an important role in delivering housing in the past. The commission will be looking at how new plans for a new generation of New Towns and Garden Cities can be realised in a way that benefits local communities.
By contrast the Tories and Lib Dems can only offer more of the same. Their initiatives to boost house building have consistently failed to deliver. The government recently announced a new Garden City in Ebbsfleet and the building of 15,000 homes, but this is 5,000 fewer homes than those announced for the same place in 2012.
Their biggest initiative, Help to Buy, is, it is true, helping to boost demand but here the Government hasn’t understood basic economics. Boosting demand without boosting supply will simply see prices pushed out of reach of aspiring buyers.
The next Labour government will succeed where this government has failed. Nobody should be in any doubt about our determination to deliver the reforms we need to double house-building, restore the dream of home ownership and to give families the security of a home they can afford.